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Stimulus Amendments Proposed

January 27, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The House Committee on Rules has posted all the amendments that have been submitted for their consideration tonight. There are hundreds: Summary of Amendments Submitted to the Rules Committee for H.R. 1 - American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 To be considered by the full House on the floor tomorrow, amendments must be approved by the Committee at their meeting at 3:30 this afternoon. The folks at Open Left have organized a last-minute call-in on some of these. There's only a cou...

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Conyers Subpoenas Rove

January 26, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI): >'Change has come to Washington, and I hope Karl Rove is ready for it. After two years of stonewalling, it's time for him to talk.' More from Politico and DailyKos. You can view the subpoena itself here (.pdf)....

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Conyers' Bush Tribunal Bill

January 23, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Pamela Kemp writes: >I noticed the Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) is featured as one of the most frequently visited profiles on OpenCongress. I suspect that one reason for the increased interest in Rep. Conyers is his introduction of H.R. 104. > >Support is growing for (H.R. 104) a bill to establish a Commission on War Powers and Civil Liberties. A group has already formed on Facebook. In addition, a petition asked members of Congress to support this people has been created on the People's Ema...

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Recovery.gov

January 15, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The website picture above - Recovery.gov - will soon be transformed into a database for information on new spending originating from the $825 billion economic stimulus package. This part of Congress's effort to bring "a historic level of transparency, oversight and accountability" to the stimulus so that "taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and Americans can see results for their investment," as stated in the draft summary. Below is the mandate to build the site contained in the House's Ameri...

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Today, a new project aimed at opening up hidden power structures in Washington and beyond - LittleSis - is making its initial foray into the wilds of the internet. Like an OpenCongress for unaccountable officials or, as the team behind LittleSis calls it, "an involuntary facebook of powerful Americans," the site profiles CEOs, presidential cabinet members, lobbyists, financiers etc., and charts overlaps in their backgrounds so we can start to see the connections that have built the powers that be.

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Government Transparency Bills in the New Congress

January 12, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Over at the Sunlight Foundation blog, Paul Blumenthal has assembled this useful list of all the government transparency and ethics legislation that has been introduced so far in the 111th Congress: >H.R.36 Presidential Library Donation Reform Act of 2009 > >H.R.35 Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2009 > >H.R.311 To cap discretionary spending, eliminate wasteful and duplicative agencies, reform entitlement programs, and reform the congressional earmark process. > >H.R.420 To prohibi...

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CEO Pay Loopholes

January 12, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Mike Lillis at the Washington Independent reports on worries that the stricter executive compensation limits in Rep. Barney Frank's TARP accountability bill are still full of loopholes: >The heads of bailed-out banks could still receive nearly unlimited pay under a new Democratic proposal to rein in executive compensation for firms participating in the taxpayer-funded Wall Street bailout, according to at least one House Democrat, who hopes to add tighter restrictions this week. > >Rep. Brad ...

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New Earmark Transparency Rules

January 7, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Yesterday, Democrats and Republicans in Congress announced new rules designed to increase disclosure of the earmarks that lawmakers request in the annual appropriations bills. The rules would require the earmark information to be available on lawmakers' individual websites, early in the appropriations process, with an explanation of the earmark's purpose and why they should be funded with taxpayer money. All would definitely improve the current system. But Bill Allison on the Sunlight Founda...

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Today in the House

January 6, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Today was the 111th Congress' big first day. The Senate and House convened, the Speaker of the House was elected, Vice President Dick Cheney swore in the new senators, members of the House took the oath of office. It was all very sweet. Curious individuals who want to find out more about Congress' first day would probably check the Library of Congress' thomas.gov website, the first place on the web to receive data about congressional activity. They would probably click on the On the Hou...

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Transparecy in the Stimulus

January 6, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Please do: >House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Vir., suggested said the bill should be put on the Internet a week before Congress votes on it. > >Mr. Obama smiled and said something along the lines of, "maybe if I was better at faking it , I'd say, 'Great idea -- we'll take you up on that.' But we've actually talked about this idea." > >Obama turned it over to incoming White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel who essentially said they would do the Republicans one better. They're planning a ...

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A New Congress Begins

January 5, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Today marks the official beginning of the new session of Congress! Members of the 111th Congress in both the Senate and House will begin their swearing in ceremonies at noon. In the Senate, the thing to watch will be what happens with the seating of Roland Burris, embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's pick to fill Barack Obama's Senate seat. On the House side, they'll be voting today on the House Rules Package for the 111th Congress, which will make several changes to House operating procedure, a few of them major.

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